Whenever I go into an old barn, I always wonder if the ghosts of the prior owners are watching me to see if I’m doing a good job. Maybe they’re watching me to make sure that I do right by the old place. Or maybe they’re just attracted by the simplicity and familiarity of life in a barn. I know they’re there; I can feel them.
|Ghosts are just on the other side of the barn door.|
I’ve written about barns more than once in this journal, and that’s because they hold a special and important place in the life of a country person. As I said once before, the garage houses your liabilities while the barn houses your assets. As I look at this old barn, it starts me to wondering if maybe it’s the barn itself that influences its owner. What I mean is, since the barn houses the assets, it gets the owner thinking in terms of productivity, dedication to tasks at hand, and respect for natural cycles. These are asset-based behaviors. These help a person to take calculable risks and make a profit, and while sometimes a person might fail, the influence of the barn will always help him to try again.
On the other hand, the garage stores cars, tools, and oftentimes just junk. There’s no life in the garage. Nothing is being born on a regular basis in the garage. Things rarely die in the garage. Calculations for planting and consideration of fields don’t take place in the garage. Chances are if you have a garage but not a barn, you haven’t got any fields to plant or animals to care for anyway. This is why the garage, while good for storing items, will never be part of a person’s livelihood in the way a barn is.
The garage is an inanimate object. There are no ghosts watching you in the garage. There are no past experiences of the birth of calves or chickens hatching or horses eating carrots in the garage. That’s why the ghosts aren’t interested in the garage. They prefer the barn because they want to stand behind generations upon generations of people who carve out their existence with their own wits and a love for the land, just like they did. That’s something they can get behind and silently encourage.
So if you get that unexplainable nostalgic feeling when you walk into a barn and your throat tightens and you look up in the rafters expecting to see something, you’re not going crazy. It’s real. You’re feeling the ghosts of the barn, and they’re just as happy to see you as you are to feel their presence. It’s a barn thing.